December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A little late for most of you, but I know some of us are still waiting for Little Christmas. I always enjoyed mass as a child this time of year. We kept singing Christmas songs after Christmas Day. It's the best! :)

A note on the Cookie Dough Cheesecake - it's VERY SWEET. In fact, it is too much for me. I will make this again with just the bottom crust layer of cookie dough. I also only used a 16oz package of cookie dough, and it worked just fine. I used Pillsbury and while it doesn't cut like Tollhouse, it smashes into the bottom of the pan quickly and beautifully! It's just too much IMO to have a bottom and top layer of cookie surrounding the cheesecake. Cheesecake type desserts are rich enough!

Now on to a few more recipes.

Southwest Egg Rolls

1 Can Black Beans

1 Can Pinto Beans

1 Can Corn

1 Pkg. Frozen Spinach (thawed and drained)

1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

½ Bag Cheddar Cheese

1 tsp. each of Chili Powder, Cumin and Onion Powder

1 Pkg. Tortillas


1. Dice chicken into bite size pieces. Cook in pan until no longer pink in center. Add chili powder, cumin, and onion powder.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredience except tortillas.

3. Warm tortillas in Microwave wrapped in a wet towel. Spoon filling into middle of each tortilla. Fold in 2 sides and roll from one end to the other.

4. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp and slightly brown. Dip in salsa, ranch, guacamole and enjoy!

**Notes: I use soft taco sized tortilla shells. Can use the smaller ones for smaller rolls (just make more of them). I like using the soft taco size cause they're fat and full of yummy goodness. Two of these are usually enough to fill us up, so this meal is one that produces leftovers for lunches! If you're a big cheese fan, feel free to throw in some extra cheese! I think I'm going to double the cheese when I make them tomorrow. DH think he hates spinach, so extra cheese will make him happy.

Apple Dumplings - this is one of those recipes where you just can't think about sugar and calories. Just fix this and fall in love. It's beyond wonderful, and sooooo easy! Serve with ice cream while the dumpling is still steaming hot!


·      2 granny smith apples

·      2 cans crescent rolls

·      2 sticks butter

·      1 ½ cups sugar

·      1 teaspoon vanilla

·      cinnamon to taste

·      1 small can Mountain Dew 


            Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9x13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over the apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges and center of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

            Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauce from the plan over the top.

            Then go to confession. Quickly.

Spicy Bean Salsa - It's traditional for my Southern family to eat black eyed peas for good luck on New Years Day. I hate black eyed peas, but I'm not about to pass up my chance for good luck. So I figured this salsa would do the trick! Sounds yummy - can't wait to try it!

Shortcut Chicken Manicotti - This meal doesn't scream "healthy" to me either, but I figured it's worth a try. I've been debating fixing this meal for a few menus now. We'll see how it goes. If we like it, it might become an every 4-6 months meal. lol.

December 22, 2008

More Recipes!

Spinach Lasagna - I made this for the CGO party DH and I finally hosted Saturday night. It's really good. I used a little more spinach than it called for. I think next time I might use Ricotta cheese (as is more traditional) than the cottage cheese. While it tasted fine, I think Ricotta would have been a bit better. 

Sausage Balls        


·      1 pound hot sausage

·      2 cups Bisquick

·      1 ½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese

·     Directions

      Sit sausage on the counter for several minutes to let to warm closer to room temperature.

       In a mixing bowl, mix the sausage, cheese, and Bisquick together using your hands. This will take several minutes.

       Roll into 1 inch or smaller balls. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Baked Artichoke and Spinach Dip        

Taken from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 12
th edition. Does not look like the dip you’d get from a restaurant – it’s much better


·      ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

·      ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

·      ½ cup sour cream

·      ½ cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

·      1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

·      Dash white pepper

·      1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped (non-marinated)

·      1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped spinach leaves

·      ½ cup finely chopped red onion (1 medium)


1.     In a large bowl combine mozzarella cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, the mustard, and pepper. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach and onion. Spread mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.

2.   Bake, uncovered, in a 350*oven about 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve with pita wedges, French bread, and/or crackers. Also really good with tortilla chips.

Make ahead directions: Prepare as above through step 1. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Uncover and bake about 25 minutes or until heated through.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake


·      2 (18 ounce) packages refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (Tollhouse rolls – not precut - recommended)

·      2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened

·      ½ cup sugar

·      2 large eggs

·      1 teaspoon vanilla 


       Cut 1 roll of cookie dough into 24 slices; arrange slices in bottom of a pie plate. Press slices together with fingers, covering bottom of plate to edges. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat well. Pour mixture into prepared pie plate.

Cut remaining roll of cookie dough into 24 slices; arrange slices over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate.

Breakfast Pizza    

Great meal to serve when company is over.


·      1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

·      6 slices white bread

·      1 ½ cups milk

·      4 eggs

·      1 tablespoon mustard

·      1 pound sausage and/or bacon

·      Salt and pepper to taste 


       Fry meat. Grease 9x13 pan. Place bread in pan. Pour milk, egg, mustard, salt, and pepper over bread.

       Sprinkle meat over bread and add cheese. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes.

 Just a note: DH claims he's going to cook his mother's spaghetti sauce Friday since I have to work and he doesn't. He's tried this once before, when we were first dating, and it didn't go so well. Please send vibes. I have no idea how to make this WONDERFUL sauce (well, wonderful when my MIL makes it), but DH says that his mom sent him the ingredient list and will be just a phone call away come Friday. All I do know about this sauce is that it's thick and uses hot Italian sausage links and homemade meatballs. Yum! 

Menu: Dec 21- Jan 3rd

Went by the commissary Sunday for the next two weeks. It wasn't nearly as crazy as I thought it would be. I did end up having to go to my local Smith's Grocery to pick up a few items. Always check out those sale ads - they can really save you money! I was able to pair up a few coupons with sale items at Smiths. Gotta love the holiday sales - they're always extra exciting for me! :) DH wasn't too happy being drug to two grocery stores, but our pockets were happy which is all that matters. I saved $11 at the commissary and $3 at Smith's thanks to coupons. Better than I thought it would be at first since my grocery list was actually smaller than normal. Only spent $130 total between the two. Included some "extras" too. 
One lady at the commissary with her big binder full of coupons told me that I could save so much more if I bought coupons online and joined coupon trading groups. I just laughed and told her that I have a full time job already. I can't imagine that amount of work she puts into it. I spend a couple of hours total going through recipes, making a menu, and cutting/printing coupons. And that's enough for me!

Week(end) Baking: whole wheat bread, cookies

21th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: leftovers

21th Sunday Dinner: Leftover lasagna, rolls, and spinach dip

22th – 23th: Monday – Tuesday Meals:
1) Sausage tomato and cream pasta
2) frozen CA pizzas

24th Wednesday – Christmas Eve: chicken sandwiches, frozen veggie side, cookie dough cheesecake

25th Thursday – Christmas Day – No work: breakfast casserole, and calzones with pepperoni and sausage, leftover cheesecake

26th Friday: spaghetti (MIL's recipe)

Weekend Baking: cookies?

27th Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: leftover breakfast casserole

27th Saturday Dinner: Penne a la Betsey

28th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: leftovers

28th Sunday Dinner: Out to eat

29th – 30th: Monday – Tuesday Meals:
1) southwest eggrolls
2) baked fish, rice, and steamed veggie

31st Wednesday – New Year’s Eve: frozen pizza, apple dumplings

1st Thursday – New Year’s Day – omelet breakfast, spicy bean salsa snack, and shortcut chicken manicotti for dinner

2nd Friday: Helper meal

December 15, 2008

More meals that I never get around to cooking....

DH and I had a great time at his squadron Christmas party Friday night. Unfortunately I work up with a sore throat and a fever. There went the rest of the weekend. I'm feeling much better tonight, so I should be able to work tomorrow. Unfortunately, you'll see more repeat meals for my next menu. I was hoping to put a couple more things on there soon, but they'll have to wait cause there's only so much I can cook and we can eat!

I did cook the pork tenderloin today for dinner. I "cheated" though and took out the crockpot. Man, I love my crockpot. If you don't own one, buy one! Or beg for someone's old one! Mine's from the 1970s and it works great to this day. It doesn't have any fancy settings (just off, low, high), but it has yet to every burn anything. Which is what matters in the end. Anyways, I trimmed the pork tenderloin up just a bit and cut it into large chunks. I rubbed it with black pepper and Melting Pots Wine and Garlic Seasoning (seriously, buy the stuff from them online. Totally worth it. Lasts awhile too!). I threw the chunks in and poured a little Corky's Apple BBQ sauce. Mmmmmm. Spicy sweetness. Thank you Corky's for making it. Thank you Mom and Dad for mailing it to us since no one out here has heard of the stuff! Back to the point, I put my crockpot on low and forgot about for a few hours. How easy is that. We ended up eating it with a box of au gratin potatoes that I found buried in the back of the pantry. We did have the green beans. I also added some breadsticks thanks to Pillsbury. Even my sick self couldn't screw up this meal and it tasted divine! And it was the only thing I cooked this weekend. Everything went out the window. Oh well.

I think all of this week's meals are self explanatory or I've already posted them up here already. :) Which is good cause I'm praying that the snow that's predicted for overnight actually happens. That'll be a first for Vegas since I've lived here! 

ETA: About that Taco Bake I posted about. I know a few people do read what I post, and maybe one of them actually cares! lol! Anyways, the taco bake was soooo not healthy, but oh so yummy! It reheats well in the microwave, so we were able to use the leftovers as lunches. Worked out great. I think I'll put add it to future menus, just not too often. I kinda like being able to fit into my clothes. :D

December 07, 2008

Next week's recipes (lettuce wraps, taco bake, red beans and rice)

Lettuce wraps: DH and I came up with this meal after eating out at PF Changs a couple of years ago. We buy little over a pound of beef that's relatively thin and looks pretty. We cut it into thin strips and marinate it for a whole day (sometimes more if life gets away from us) in teriyaki sauce. If the meat is a tougher cut then we'll also sprinkle in a bit of meat tenderizer. We cook cook the meat on a low to med low heat on the stove. We serve it inside a leaf of lettuce with rice and cheddar cheese. Just throw on the goodness and chomp down on some lettuce! Feel free to add whatever makes your heart patter inside the greatness of lettuce. DH is a picky eater, so we stick with the basics. I also find that steamed sushi rice works best. Since the rice is sticky and clumps together, it stays inside the lettuce leaf a lot better. If we want a side, we'll make some teriyaki flavored pasta with some shaved veggies. Or you can be lazy and just buy a package of Knorr's asian sides. It's just something to add some more bulk to the meal. Not that it really needs it if you're just sharing this between two people. 

Taco Bake - My mother swears this is great, so DH and I are going to try it this week. I'll let you know how it goes. DH is already swearing to hate it since it uses sour cream. Silly man!

Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage - Everyone has their own way of making this meal, but I going offer my one very non creole version. lol. It's a basic recipe that I've found easy to vary based on my own tastes. I've made it spicy and I've made it bland. I've sometimes added tomatoes and such. Whatever floats your boat. Here's the basics.

1 lb of smoked sausage (any kind/variety will work)
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 or 2 cans of beans (red beans, kidney beans, chili beans, whatever you like best)
worcestershire sauce
1 cup uncooked rice
salt and pepper to taste

Start cooking your one cup of rice, following the directions for your steamer/maker/package. Long grain works great for this.
Chop the bell pepper and onion. How big and how small depends on how you like them. My mom minces them. I make a large chop. Cut the smoked sausage into rounds. If you don't like rounds, cut the rounds in half to make half moons. All good. Cook the sausage, onion, and bell pepper in a large skillet with sides. I usually use a little bit of butter. When sausage is browned and the veggies have sweated enough to where the onions become opaque, add in the beans (liquid and all). If you like beans, go with two cans. It's what my mom does. I'm not a big fan of beans, so I just use one can. Bring to a simmer. Add in worcestershire sauce. At least one tablespoon, but I usually add more. I like the stuff in this dish! It adds a great unique flavor. Just do it to taste. Add salt and pepper if you feel the need. When rice is done, pour into the large skillet and stir to mix. Adjust seasonings if need be. Simple, quick, delicious. 

Now my parents have issues with mixing the rice in, so if you're like them here's an alternative. Mom keep the rice on the side. Since the bean/meat/veggie sauce is thin she thickens it up with a little flour in water. She likes to pour this mixture over her rice, but not mix it. Funny people. lol. 

December 05, 2008

Potato soup, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies

I have to say that this recipe for baked potato soup is THE BEST EVER. It makes a ton and it fills you up, so it'll stretch! We'll easily get dinner, lunch the next day, and lunch the day after that out of a pot. Just remind yourself that all that milk is great for you calcium intake, and bacon is a necessary protein. One thing to keep in mind is that the potatoes do need to be mostly cooked before adding to the soup. So bake them or boil them first. It's all good. REALLY GOOD. 

Baked Potato Soup        

Best potato soup ever! You can’t miss with this great recipe. Serves 6.



·      12 slices bacon

·      2/3 cup margarine or butter

·      2/3 cup all purpose flour

·      7 cups milk

·      4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed (cooked!)

·      4 green onions, chopped

·      ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

·      1 cup sour cream

·      1 teaspoon salt

·      1 teaspoon pepper



1.     Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble, set aside.

2.   In a stock pot or dutch oven, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Wish in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

3.    Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Mix in bacon, cheese, sour crème, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.

Use bacon bits to save time from cooking the bacon! For potatoes without baking, peel and cube, and cook separately in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain before potatoes are fully cooked.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies (I've tried many different recipes and none have ever come close to the original Nestle Tollhouse. So just stick with the package - no need to get fancy dancey.)

New menu for Dec 6th-Dec 20th

It's that time again. Gotta go out and brave the commissary tomorrow. My grocery list isn't all that long cause we ended up eating leftovers all weekend long, so we didn't get to a couple of my meals this week. See how chicken parmesan made yet another appearance? One day I'm really going to make it! Really....  We had to move the date of the CGO party to the 20th, so that's messing with my menu too again. I'm a little sad that I could only find $9 in useable coupons this time. However I do have a stockpile of coupons that I'll be using later on. I just have no need for frozen veggies and etc this menu. I already have a stockpile of them! :)

Weekend Baking: oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie (for strike vault)

6th Saturday Dinner: Potato Soup

7th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: leftover potato soup

7th Sunday Dinner: grilled steaks, baked potatoes, steamed frozen sweet corn


8th – 12th: Monday – Friday Meals:
1) lettuce wraps and Asian pasta side
2) quesadillas with Mexican cheeses, chicken, and onions
3) taco bake
4) Italian sausage spaghetti
12th: Squadron Christmas Party


Weekend Baking: chocolate covered Oreos, stained glass sugar cookies, and whole wheat bread

13th Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: breakfast wraps

13th Saturday Dinner: Homemade calzones

14th Sunday Breakfast/Lunch: hotdogs and macaroni and cheese

14th Sunday Dinner: pork tenderloin, leftover mac and cheese, green beans, breadsticks


15th – 19th: Monday – Friday Meals:
1) Red beans and rice with smoked sausage
2) beef stir fry
3) frozen pizza
4) chicken parmesan with pasta and veggie
5) out to eat

20th Saturday Breakfast/Lunch: waffles

20th Saturday CGO Christmas Party